ALTHOUGH the Msunduzi Municipality has failed to get a Blue Drop rating for its water supply system, residents should not be alarmed as the water is still fit for consumption.
The municipality, which buys its water from uMgeni Water, fell short by a mere three points, but this is due to its failure to meet all the compulsory certification requirements.
Eight months ago, the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) initiated awarding water services authorities with Blue Drop status for drinking water and/or Green Drop status for waste water.
The aim of this is that the public can be certain that DWAF is confident that they are being provided with credible information with regard to drinking water and waste water management.
In a biannual assessment, those awarded with Blue Drop status need to achieve at least 95% in the weighted criteria.
Some of the criteria that are looked at include submission of water quality results, drinking water asset management, drinking water quality compliance and drinking water quality sample analysis.
Msunduzi’s first assessment saw them achieving maximum points in every category except for drinking water sample analysis.
According to DWAF’s deputy regional director Angela Masefield, the municipality’s downfall was that they were not doing enough sampling.
The municipality’s acting municipal manager for infrastructure, services and facilities, Phil Mashoko, said the municipality’s overall rating was pleasing.
“We only fell short on one item, which involves taking samples from end-users. It was a minor thing and management is working on increased sampling,” he said.
Mashoko said residents should not be worried about the quality of water supplied by the municipality as the standard was excellent.
“All we have to do is improve on the frequency and distribution of our water samples. Once that is done, people can be assured that the municipality’s next assessment will result in a Blue Drop rating,” he said.
Municipalities that failed to take part in the assessment received a zero rating, and will be strictly audited by DWAF in order to ascertain their risk levels.
Those providing drinking water that was deemed unsafe were given a Red Drop status.
The only province that had no municipalities on the zero list was KwaZulu-Natal, and only 22 out of 402 bulk water providers and municipalities managed to achieve Blue Drop status.